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Tories kill Gerrard's bid to add size, weight to human-rights protection

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Jon Gerrard, MLA for River Heights spoke at the Manitobans Against Weight Stigma Rally to End Weight Discrimination at the Manitoba Legislature in 2016. Gerrard's private member's bill to protect size and weight under human-rights legislation, was defeated by the Tories in a vote during private members' time Thursday.</p>

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Jon Gerrard, MLA for River Heights spoke at the Manitobans Against Weight Stigma Rally to End Weight Discrimination at the Manitoba Legislature in 2016. Gerrard's private member's bill to protect size and weight under human-rights legislation, was defeated by the Tories in a vote during private members' time Thursday.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/11/2017 (233 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The government defeated Liberal MLA Jon Gerrard's private member's bill Thursday that would have protected physical size and weight under human-rights legislation.

"Every Conservative MLA present voted against it," Gerrard lamented later. "It was, quite frankly, disappointing to the many who hoped this bill would get passed. It would certainly help their situation."

The bill had been debated previously but came up for a vote during private members' time Thursday.

Gerrard denied that Bill 200 was too vague to get Tory support, and that leaving out any mention of employers' rights was a factor in its defeat.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/11/2017 (233 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The government defeated Liberal MLA Jon Gerrard's private member's bill Thursday that would have protected physical size and weight under human-rights legislation.

"Every Conservative MLA present voted against it," Gerrard lamented later. "It was, quite frankly, disappointing to the many who hoped this bill would get passed. It would certainly help their situation."

The bill had been debated previously but came up for a vote during private members' time Thursday.

Gerrard denied that Bill 200 was too vague to get Tory support, and that leaving out any mention of employers' rights was a factor in its defeat.

The bill would have amended the Human Rights Code by adding the additional clause "physical size or weight," to conditions protected from discrimination.

"We had representation from the Little People of Manitoba" talking about dwarfism, he said. "We had representation very concerned about eating disorders... discrimination against people whether it's fat or thin bodies, representatives working with people who are large-bodied. They were all very disappointed."

Gerrard said that Michigan has had protection for size and body weight since 1977, with no adverse impact on employers. "Firefighters and police have moved away from weight and height requirements," he said.

It's almost a year since Manitobans Against Weight Stigma held a rally on the steps of the legislature.

Spokeswoman and registered dietitian Lindsey Mazur was in the public gallery Thursday, and later said in a news release that, "Research reveals there is public support for legislation against size and weight discrimination.

"It is an important human-rights issue gaining more support across the globe," she said. "I’m extremely disappointed and saddened of the lack of support for Bill 200 today, but I am even more saddened by the lives that continue to be affected by this form of discrimination, for which women are disproportionately impacted."

Gerrard said that it is not appropriate to rely on protection of the disabled to have human-rights protection on issues of height and weight.

"I don't believe being small, in itself, is a disability," he said.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

 

 

Nick Martin

Nick Martin
Education Reporter

Nick Martin is the bearded guy we keep hidden away at the back of the newsroom. He is now in his fourth decade working in daily newspapers.

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